The LA River, stretching through the Valley, Downtown, and down the length of the basin all the way to Long Beach, would be such an awesome option for commuting, if only it had water and self-driving personal submarines in it. BMW is on it. (Well, they're on thinking about it, and drawing it.) For the Los Angeles Auto Show's Design Challenge this year, their DesignworksUSA team presented an idea for Mini Cooper-branded pods that would travel along a flooded LA River channel (flooding, they say, would also help replenish LA's groundwater supplies and prevent stormwater runoff). The pods would be powered by hydrogen fuel from "a chemical reaction created when salt and fresh water mix in the presence of of certain bacteria," according to Gizmodo, which talked to the designers behind the project; the water flowing in and out as part of that process would also propel the little guys, and little robots would take care of algae. And while we're dreaming, the team imagines the fleet expanding into a restored Venice canal system and unburied creeks. Definitely something for the Army Corps of Engineers to look out once they're done with that massive LA River restoration plan.
· BMW Group DesignworksUSA [LA Auto Show]
· A Self-Driving Mini Cooper Submarine for Commuting on the L.A. River [Gizmodo]